68 research outputs found

    Entrepreneurial becoming: an educational pathway out of poverty

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    This paper reports a longitudinal analysis of 20 necessity driven micro-entrepreneurs operating in Beira, Central Mozambique, who received funding and training from the same NGO to establish or grow their business activities and reports the development of these entrepreneurs in terms of their acquired entrepreneurial potential for long-term success. The results indicate there is a process of entrepreneurial becoming that is not just about access to finance but especially learning and, when successful, this process supports the transformation of survival micro-enterprises into entrepreneurial micro-businesses. The concept of ‘becoming’ contains an implicit temporal dimension. Becoming suggests a transformation over time: a change from what one is already. In this study, we witness a significant change in understanding how a business needs to operate, in recognizing opportunities, thinking more creatively, and building self-confidence

    Training for lifestyle entrepreneurs: what works?

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    Principal Topic: Many developed countries have issues with the movement of populations away from rural areas. This is often caused by the lack of career opportunities for the young as a result of the decline in rural industries and the inability of farming to provide a sufficiently high standard of living. There has been an active move towards 'value adding' in rural areas and in particular the development of tourism activities, to counter this trend. There is an additional challenge, in that many rural entrepreneurs are what might be called 'lifestyle' entrepreneurs (Alsos, Ljunggren & Pettersen 2007), whose capacity to contribute to local economic development is not well documented. The purpose of this paper is to document the curriculum development process that was engaged in, in the design, delivery and outcomes of a programme designed to encourage and equip rural entrepreneurs to extend into the tourism and hospitality industries. These entrepreneurs operate in Hedmark Region of Norway and the training took place in Brisbane, Australia. The programme was substantially funded by Innovation Norway. Methodology/Key Propositions: The development and delivery of the training programme took place in Norway and Australia. The methodology is qualitative and it is hoped the research will lead to a longitudinal study of the impact of lifestyle entrepreneurs on local economic development in rural areas. Qualitative research has the strength of providing rich data, directly from the entrepreneurs themselves. The action research process that was engaged in means that the entrepreneurs themselves are active participants in the research and the quality of their feedback and willingness to discuss their changed behaviour are critical to both evaluating the impact of the programme and the potential for further study on the economic impact of their activities. The development process and the nature of the curriculum used for these entrepreneurs may well provide insights into effective training for lifestyle entrepreneurs in other contexts. The participants were asked to evaluate the programme immediately on its conclusion and six months after the programme when they were interviewed in their place of operation. Their insights into the benefits of the training received, including its location in an unfamiliar and exotic setting, provide an insight into the difficulties faced by micro-enterprises in rural areas, many of which were not identified by the participants prior to the training. The development process included two visits to the location in which the entrepreneurs were establishing their enterprises, discussion with local economic development staff and a group of local entrepreneurs. This provided the data for the design of the curriculum which included targeted classroom sessions, site visits, experiential learning and small group coaching. Results and Implications: Little is known about the potential for growth of lifestyle entrepreneurs, despite the growing number in rural areas of developed countries. Innovation Norway had an explicit desired outcome for the programme and that was to encourage individual entrepreneurs, known for their independence, to work together. The evaluations undertaken both immediately after the programme and 6 months later provide interesting reflections on what was considered the most effective learning strategy as well as the practical outcomes of the programme. - The experiential learning, that is being put in the place of their potential customers proved an effective way to learn. - Participants would have liked more coaching - that is being helped to relate their learning to their particular situations. - The greatest benefit from the programme was the social and business network that was established and which was having a multiplier effect in the community. - Participants were much more conscious of the need to be specific in identifying who their customer was and tailoring the products and services to particular markets. - Participants indicated an interest in being part of a longitudinal study into the impact of their businesses on local economic activity

    How Do Epistemological Beliefs Contribute To Leadership Behaviour, And the Changes Required to Meet The Needs of Today's Business Challenges?

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    The relationship between personal epistemological beliefs and behaviours of leaders will be undertaken as part of a doctoral research investigation. The research will also examine the changes that occur in leadership constructs and behaviour when epistemological beliefs are surfaced and explored with individuals. Leadership research and theory are briefly examined to identify a relevant leadership paradigm on which to begin the research. Similarly, epistemological beliefs and their role in leader values, decision-making and practice are discussed. Links between surfacing epistemological beliefs and leadership change are highlighted from the literature and offered as an imperative for investigation. Several postulates from the literature review are presented for consideration and as signposts for the doctoral study

    A sustainable model for supporting entrepreneurship in developing countries

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    Principal Topic Small and micro-enterprises are believed to play a significant part in economic growth and poverty allevition in developing countries. However, there are a range of issues that arise when looking at the support required for local enterprise development, the role of micro finance and sustainability. This paper explores the issues associated with the establishment and resourcing of micro-enterprise develoment and proposes a model of sustainable support of enterprise development in very poor developing economies, particularly in Africa. The purpose of this paper is to identify and address the range of issues raised by the literature and empirical research in Africa, regarding micro-finance and small business support, and to develop a model for sustainable support for enterprise development within a particular cultural and economic context. Micro-finance has become big business with a range of models - from those that operate on a strictly business basis to those that come from a philanthropic base. The models used grow from a range of philosophical and cultural perspectives. Entrepreneurship training is provided around the world. Success is often measured by the number involved and the repayment rates - which are very high, largely because of the lending models used. This paper will explore the range of options available and propose a model that can be implemented and evaluated in rapidly changing developing economies. Methodology/Key Propositions The research draws on entrepreneurial and micro-finance literature and empirical research undertaken in Mozambique, which lies along the Indian ocean sea border of Southern Africa. As a result of war and natural disasters over a prolonged period, there is little industry, primary industries are primitive and there is virtually no infrastructure. Mozambique is ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world. The conditions in Mozambique, though not identical, reflect conditions in many other parts of Africa. A numebr of key elements in the development of enterprises in poor countries are explored including: Impact of micro-finance Sustainable models of micro-finance Education and training Capacity building Support mechanisms Impact on poverty, families and the local economy Survival entrepreneurship versus growth entrepreneurship Transitions to the formal sector. Results and Implications The result of this study is the development of a model for providing intellectual and financial resources to micro-entrepreneurs in poor developing countries in a sustainable way. The model provides a base for ongoing research into the process of entrepreneurial growth in African developing economies. The research raises a numeber of issues regarding sustainability including the nature of the donor/recipient relationship, access to affordable resources, the impact of individual entrepreneurial activity on the local economny and the need for ongoing research to understand the whole process and its impact, intended and unintended

    Expectations and Reality - A Model for Meeting International Student Needs

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    International student numbers studying within the Faculty of Business at Queensland University of Technology now make up more that 20% of total student numbers and come from increasingly diverse parts of the world. Through strategic action by the university this diversity will increase. This study identifies the differing expectations of students from different geographical regions, and how reality met these expectations. The data was collected through a series of informal groups where students from particular regions were encouraged to discuss their expectations and the nature of the reality of their study. It cannot be assumed that students coming from very different cultural backgrounds and geographical locations have the same expectations of the educational experience they will be receive, or respond in the same way to the processes they encounter. The study also contributes to the development of a model for providing an effective learning experience for international students

    Using Assessment to Trigger Transformational Learning in Leadership Development

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    The business environment is changing rapidly and in many different ways. Globalisation, information technology, the internet, issues of social responsibility are all impacting on the knowledge and skills required by today’s business leaders. MBA programs are expected to assist current and aspiring business managers and leaders to respond effectively to all these challenges. One of the electives units within the MBA program at the Brisbane Graduate School of Business, Leadership II, focuses on individual leadership development, challenging students to see themselves as the most significant factor in their own success as leaders. The unit requires critical reflection of individual characteristics and beliefs. In Leadership II, students are required to reflect critically on this process and the impact of their discoveries on their ability to lead. The assessment items within this course play a critical role in facilitating the process. The assessment moves beyond a measurement of learning to being an integral part of the learning process. This paper describes the processes used and the evaluation of these processes by the students, and their perception of the role of assessment within the cours

    The International Classroom, Challenges and Strategies in a Large Business Faculty

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    Abstract International Education in Australia has grown by an average of 15% every year since the late 1980s. This phenomenon is not unique to Australia. Tertiary education around the world is becoming 'internationalised' that is, there is an increasing mix of domestic and international students in classes from a wide range of countries and cultures. Despite this, and the fact that Australia is itself an extremely culturally diverse community, Australian higher education remains essentially mon-cultural in form and Anglo American in content. The teaching and learning implications of such a large, very diverse international student population have yet to be addressed at most institutions of higher education. The multi-cultural classroom provides an opportunity for students from different countries and cultures to bring their enormous range of experiences, knowledge , perspectives and insights to the learning - if the process is enabled. This raises challenges for teachers. International Education in Australia has grown by an average of 15% every year since the late 1980s. This phenomenon is not unique to Australia. Tertiary education around the world is becoming 'internationalised' that is, there is an increasing mix of domestic and international students in classes from a wide range of countries and cultures. Despite this, and the fact that Australia is itself an extremely culturally diverse community, Australian higher education remains essentially mon-cultural in form and Anglo American in content. The teaching and learning implications of such a large, very diverse international student population have yet to be addressed at most institutions of higher education. The multi-cultural classroom provides an opportunity for students from different countries and cultures to bring their enormous range of experiences, knowledge , perspectives and insights to the learning - if the process is enabled. This raises challenges for teachers

    From the Informal to the Formal Sector: Micro-enterprises in a developing economy – research in progress

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    Small and micro-enterprises play a significant part in most economies. However, in developing countries these enterprises have tended to be looked at from a development, or poverty alleviation perspective, rather than as potentially growing businesses. This paper explores the possibility of micro-enterprises in developing economies moving from the informal to the formal sector – what this actually means and the process involved. Little is known about the process of growth from "survival" entrepreneurship to ongoing participation in the formal economy. A number of the entrepreneurs who participated in this research had made substantial gains in both a psychological and business sense in a period of two years. The methodology is qualitative and longitudinal over a two year period

    Customer Service, what does it mean for the provision of post graduate business education?

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    The public service throughout Australia has moved over the past 10 years from an input focus to an output focus. Customer Service has become a buzz word with many public instrumentalities receiving awards for excellence in customer service. This paper explores the implications of a customer focus through the use of one organisational unit as a case study - the Brisbane Graduate School, within the Faculty of Business at the Queensland University of Technology. (QUT) The paper distinguishes between student focused, which implies a pedagogical perspective, and customer service which deals with the organisational issues including the whole organisations’ perception of the ‘customer’. Three years ago the Graduate School of Business at QUT decided on a change of direction, reviewed and altered substantially the MBA program, its primary product, and decided that a customer service focus impacting on the nature of the whole learning experience would provided a competitive advantage, more difficult to copy that the revised program. The customer service focus took a number of forms: involving the business community and students in the design of the new program including both content and delivery of the program, clarifying who we saw our clients to be, developing a student services function for both administrative and academic support, and overtly trying to develop a partnership between the Graduate School and its clients. This has lead to a number of changes including: • 6 entry points a year in to the program • A very broad curriculum • Change of Unit name • Continuous formal and informal student feedback • An explicit contract between academic staff and students • Different forms of marketing • Organisational cultural change The implications of these changes have been many and raised a number of issues that have yet to be addressed including: • Need for the ability to respond rapidly, to external and internal stimuli, both academically and administratively. • The tension between ‘quality’ education and customer perceptions • Need to raise the profile of the School and its products • Staff expertise • Time management • Management of student expectations • Changing expectations of staff This paper will identify the changes that have happened as a result of the introduction of a customer service focus and the issues that have arisen, together with the implications of theses issue for the continuing growth and quality of the services offered

    Promoting Effective Learning in a Multicultural Classroom

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    Cultural diversity in society, the workplace and classrooms in Australia is a fact of life. The multi-cultural classroom provides an opportunity for students from different cultures to bring their enormous range of experiences, knowledge, perspectives and insights to the learning – if the process is enabled. This is not always easy to do. This paper outlines part of a one year project which will draw on the literature, interviews with teaching staff and focus groups of ‘best practice’ teachers, to present some practical strategies for the effective teaching of business disciplines. The student perspective will be incorporated in the next stage of the project. A number of assumptions underpin the research and the development of this paper. • Australian classes use Western teaching and learning strategies that focus on critical analysis, oral discussion, problem solving and the possibility of multiple solutions. • The classes are made up of students from a wide number of cultures, including English speaking Australians. • Many of the students have a language other than English as their mother tongue. • Organisations around the world, and therefore students, work in increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse work places and many will operate internationally. The capacity to work with people who are different is important for all students to learn. "You learn from foreigners that there is more than one path to a goal. Effective wealth creation demands that we use all the paths available to us" (Hampden-Turner & Trompenaaars, 1993:16, cited in Sinclair and Wilson 1999:27) • Teaching practices that assist the learning of international students will in fact be of benefit to all students. The paper identifies a number of issues related to effective teaching in multi cultural business classrooms at universities, it addresses the potential barriers to effective learning, the challenges to teachers and offers a range of strategies that have been demonstrated to improve teaching and learning in this context and outlines the processes for building on current knowledge to improve the quality of teaching in multicultural classrooms
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